Tracking High Altitude Microbes
Plumes of dust deliver vast quantities of microbes such as bacteria from Asia to North America, according to a new study from the University of Washington.
“We detected thousands of unique microbial species, many of which seem particularly well-suited for atmospheric transport,” says study author David J. Smith, from the University of Washington, Seattle. “We also detected archaea, a domain of life that has never before been sampled at high altitude. We are just starting to understand the consequences of long-range microbial transport.”
“The long-range transport and surprising level of species richness in the upper atmosphere overturns traditional paradigms in aerobiology,” explains Smith.